W. Barnes Steveni Chronicling Russia’s Tumultuous History

W. Barnes Steveni (1859-1944) was a British journalist, author, and educator who spent a significant portion of his life in Russia, witnessing and chronicling the country’s tumultuous history at the turn of the 20th century.

Born in Kingston upon Hull, Great Britain, in 1859, Steveni moved to Saint Petersburg, Russia, in 1887. There, he taught English and immersed himself in Russian culture, meeting influential figures such as the renowned writer Leo Tolstoy.

As a correspondent for the London Daily Chronicle from 1892 to 1917, Steveni documented the political, military, social, cultural, ethnological, and historical aspects of Russia during a critical period in its history. His firsthand accounts of the devastating Russian famine of 1891-1892, as well as his observations on the eve of the First World War and the Russian Revolution, provide invaluable insights into the challenges faced by the Russian people during these turbulent times.

Steveni’s dedication to understanding and portraying the realities of life in Russia is evident in his numerous publications, including “Through Famine-Stricken Russia” (1892), “Petrograd, Past and Present” (1914), and “The Russian Army from Within” (1914). His works not only shed light on the hardships endured by Russians but also offer a unique perspective on the country’s cultural and social landscape.

In addition to his focus on Russia, Steveni also wrote about other European countries, such as Sweden, demonstrating his broad interest in international affairs and his commitment to fostering understanding between nations.

Throughout his career, W. Barnes Steveni proved himself to be a keen observer, a passionate educator, and a dedicated journalist. His contributions to the documentation of Russian history and his efforts to raise awareness about the plight of the Russian people during times of crisis have left an indelible mark on the field of journalism and historical studies.


  1. Through Famine-Stricken Russia (1892) – An account of Steveni’s observations during the Russian famine of 1891-1892.
  2. The Scandinavian Question (1905) – An analysis of the political and social issues in Scandinavia at the beginning of the 20th century.
  3. Things Seen in Russia (1913) – A collection of Steveni’s experiences and insights into Russian life and culture prior to World War I.
  4. Petrograd, Past and Present (1914) – A historical and contemporary look at the city of Saint Petersburg (later renamed Petrograd) and its significance in Russian history.
  5. The Russian Army from Within (1914) – An examination of the structure, organization, and inner workings of the Russian military on the eve of World War I.
  6. Things Seen in Sweden (1915) – A travelogue and cultural commentary on Sweden during the early years of World War I.
  7. How to Do Business with Russia: Hints and Advice to Businessmen Dealing with Russia (1917) – A guide for entrepreneurs and businesspeople seeking to establish trade relations with Russia.
  8. Europe’s Great Calamity: The Russian Famine, An Appeal for the Russian Peasant (1922) – A call to action and an analysis of the devastating Russian famine of 1921-1922.
  9. Unknown Sweden (1925) – An exploration of lesser-known aspects of Swedish culture, history, and society.

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